Posts Tagged 'Christmas'

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 9: After the Rush

Pairing Down, Packing Up and Pondering

As you pull out your empty boxes, do take a minute to pull out anything left in those boxes to donate. If you didn’t use it this year, you are even less likely to use it in the years to come. This can be you’re first step towards a simplified and organized 2011!

Take your time as you take down, pack up and store your holiday decorations. The few extra minutes you take now will pay off for the years to come. Use clear plastic containers and be sure to clearly label each container.

Take a few minutes to think through HOW you prepare for Christmas, and pack up accordingly. Put away those things that you tend to use last, first. And pack away those things that you tend to use first, last, so that they will be easily accessible next year. Many people put up their outside decorations first, may decorate the inside of their homes next, send out Christmas cards and start listening to their Christmas music, and finally put up and decorate the tree. If this were the case, you would want to pack away your tree trimmings first, and place them in the back of the storage area or shelving unit. Next you would want to pack up your cards, Christmas music and wrap. Then pack away your indoor decorations and finally your outdoor decorations.

The stores are enticing you to come on in and purchase, purchase, purchase. For the past several months they have been trying to get you to purchase Christmas stuff, now with the New Year approaching, the stores are moving on to organizational aids. Of course being an organizing professional, I have a certain affinity for this time of year and for all those cool organizational tools that are for sale. But the fact remains, if you don’t need it, it becomes clutter. Think through WHAT you need BEFORE venturing out to purchase.

Finally, take a few minutes to ponder. Think back over your holidays. Did your holiday season come close your mission? Did you begin any new traditions that you would like to continue? Were you able to develop any new habits, either personally or within your family, that you would like to continue? What was your greatest frustration this holiday season, and how could you minimize it in years to come? What changes did you make this year that enabled you to enjoy a simpler and more fulfilling holiday season?

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5, Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, Part 7, It’s a Wrap, and Part 8, Merry Christmas, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Here is to an organized and blessed 2011!

Cheryl

Get In Order for the Holidays, Part 8

Merry Christmas

Christmas — THE Good News.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:8-11, The Bible

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5, Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Cheryl

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 7

It’s A Wrap!

The big day is quickly approaching. Are you ready? Are you in the Christmas spirit?

It’s time to wrap up your preparations and your gifts!

Consider setting up a wrapping station where you can keep all of your wrapping supplies and gifts in the same area. Make it fun and festive by setting up your wrapping station near a TV. Then you can wrap and organize, while watching old Christmas classics or listening to Christmas music.

When you pull out last year’s wrapping paper, take the time to discard any wrinkled, outdated, or damaged paper and supplies.

Get the kids involved!

  • Give the job completely to an older teen
  • Have younger children help by stamping, painting or decorating butcher paper to use as gift wrap

Wrap gifts soon after you purchase them to avoid the last minute rush. Be sure to clearly label each gift and cross the gift off your list.

Remember, don’t be afraid to cross off some tasks from your list! Your friends and family would rather have a joyful you, with store bought cookies, than a stressed out, frazzled, you, with homemade treasures.

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5, Decorating, and Part 6, Meal Planning, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

May you have joy in the journey!

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 2

Part 2: Take Time to Make Time

The countdown is on. It is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Celebrating Jesus.  Come to earth as a baby for you and me!

Over the years, our celebration has come to include SO MANY things; family and friends, meals out, gift giving, parties, evenings in, shopping, cleaning, decorating, baking, and cooking. And the list goes on! In the midst of it all, life doesn’t stop. So, HOW do we fit it all in?

Plan first. Do second.

You have heard it all before. Make your list. Check it twice. I would like to add a third step. Cross off your list (before you DO it!).
Most of us shop too much, bake too much, cook too much, eat way too much, plan too much, and generally wear ourselves out. At a time when we want to slow down and appreciate what Christmas really means and enjoy those around us, we so easily clutter our minds and our time with so much busyness.

Truly, this bit of advice, to cross off some things on your list, will save you time and energy, and help make time for all those things and people in life that are most important to you.

As you are making your plans this year, take a few minutes to really consider what is important to you and your family. Take a few minutes to create a mission statement for your holiday season. A good mission statement will succinctly define what you and your family are trying to accomplish and what you value. It will provide you with a vision as you are planning.
As you think through your own mission statement, simply ask yourself what you really want for the holiday season (and what you don’t want!).

Personally, I want:
To draw closer to God and understand the meaning of Christmas
To have sweet time with my family
To be able to give and serve more to those in need
To slow down and put aside my To Do list
To catch up with old friends
To enjoy and appreciate the simple pleasures of the days

I don’t want:
To get caught up in the shopping frenzy
To spend $ we don’t have
To be too busy and over-scheduled

Take a few minutes to create your own holiday mission statement and use it as you are planning for the weeks to come.
As you are making plans, think through what traditions you have and why. Make a list of them. From decorating to Christmas caroling, from serving to gift giving, from spiritual life to family gatherings.

Keep those traditions that you love, and be willing to let go of those you don’t love or have outgrown. Families and people change! We tend to begin new traditions as our families grow. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to continue every tradition that you ever started.

Next, include your family. Share your list with your family. Ask what is important to them. You may be surprised!
Now it’s time to look ahead and come up with a plan that is both realistic and simplified.

Take time to make time for those things and people in your life that are most important to you.

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5,  Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Cheryl

Get “In Order” for the Holidays!

Yes! It is time to get yourself and your life In Order for the Holidays!

Does this time of year find you hurried and harried rather than joyful and jubilant?
This 90 minute workshop will help you sail through the holidays in organized bliss, as you recapture some of that energy and joy that is so often lost in the details of the days.

We’ll discuss time saving strategies and ways to simplify your holiday plans that you can use year after year. We will talk about Expectations, Gift Giving, Cleaning and Decorating, Holiday Meal Planning and the Creation of a Wrapping Center.

Workshop: In Order for the Holidays

When: Monday, November 16th, 2011

Where:    The Marriage Resource Center, 255 Clifton Blvd, Suite 213, Westminster, MD

Cost:  $15

To Register:  Call 410-386-9003 or email amy@marriageresourceccc.org

Don’t miss this opportunity to get yourself in “Order for the Holidays”, while  supporting the Marriage Resource Center of Carroll County……….”building healthy community, one marriage at a time!

Happy (and Organized) Days!


Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 6

Part 6, It’s a Wrap!

The big day is quickly approaching. Are you ready? Are you in the Christmas spirit?

It’s time to wrap up your preparations and your gifts!

Consider setting up a wrapping station where you can keep all of your wrapping supplies and gifts in the same area. Make it fun and festive by setting up your wrapping station near a TV. Then you can wrap and organize, while watching old Christmas classics or listen to Christmas music.

When you pull out last year’s wrapping paper, take the time to discard any wrinkled, outdated or damaged paper and supplies.

Get the kids involved!

  • Give the job completely to an older teen
  • Have younger children help by stamping, painting or decorating butcher paper to use as gift wrap

Wrap gifts soon after you purchase them to avoid the last minute rush. Be sure to clearly label each gift and cross the gift off your list.

Remember, don’t be afraid to cross off some tasks from your list! Your friends and family would rather have a joyful you with store bought cookies and than a stressed out, frazzled you with homemade treasures.

May you have joy in the journey!

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Cheryl

Get in Order for Christmas, Part 6

Part 6, Shopping and Gift Giving

If you haven’t completed your Christmas shopping, don’t feel bad. Surprisingly, your in the majority with 66% of the

Still Shopping.........

country right there with you! In fact, according to the the latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, one in five consumers (21 percent) will still be shopping for gifts the week before Christmas, with 4 percent expecting to shop on Christmas Eve (men??). I’m right there with the majority, still shopping away. Once upon a time, when the kids were little, and I could actually pick their clothes and their gifts, I shopped all year, created “theme” gifts, and finishing up nice and early. Times have changed and so have my kids. Actually, they are no longer “kids”. They are young adults and adults. I have learned that times and life change quickly at their stage of life.  I have also learned that their gifts are much more expensive. Consequently, they receive fewer gifts, making my job of shopper much easier.Case in point, the only gift my college age daughter asked for was money toward a reunion trip to be held over the New Year Holiday, out of state. She told me just last night that her plans may be changing, and she may not be going on her trip. I might need to get shopping!

Are you of the “Black Friday” mindset, where shopping becomes a challenge and a competition? Have at it and have fun! I’m of the opposite mindset, which we can call “White Tuesday”. I try to shop early in the morning and early in the week, avoiding the crowds (as much as they can be avoided at this time of year!).

Be sure to shop with an organized list. Jot down EVERYTHING you are looking for, including ideas and price range. Use the list you created in week 2, and you will avoid purchasing duplicates, overspending, and save time.

Don’t clutter up the lives of your friends and family. Consider some of the following gift-giving options:

  • Consumable gifts, including lotions, candles, great wine and foods

  • Cool experiences, evenings out, tickets to a play or event

  • Movie tickets along with popcorn and candy

  • Passes to a museum or zoo for a family

  • Classes for art, dance, golf or gourmet cooking

  • For Teenagers, consider gift cards for gas, coffee, fast food or restaurants

  • For teachers, consider gift cards for coffee, gas, fast food, restaurants, office supply stores or educational supply stores

  • Give of yourself; a car wash or lawn mow for an elderly neighbor, an evening of babysitting along with a gift certificate for a dinner out for young parents.

  • Instead of a traditional gift, agree to spend a special evening together with friends

  • Give a cow, a goat or chickens. Dig and stock a fish pond. Send a child to school. Provide life saving medicine, mosquito nets and emergency food. Purchase fruit trees, honey bees or a fishing boat. It’s never been easier to change the lives of those in need. Check out the World Vision Gift Catalog or the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog, and share the true Spirit of Christmas, while changing the lives of children forever. They make it quick and easy to send any of the above, along with many other ideas, in all price ranges. Check it out!

If you make homemade gifts, become a specialist. Find one thing that you love, make it well, and make many of them.

Finally, keep several generic gifts available for the last minute need. Consider some of the consumable gifts mentioned earlier, such as great lotions, candles, gourmet foods and excellent wine. If you don’t have a need for them, you can treat yourself after the holidays.

Happy “White Tuesday” and Happy Shopping!

If you missed them, check out Part 1: Take Time to Make Time, Part 2:  Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 3: Cleaning, Part 4: Meal Planning and Part 5: Decorating.

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Cheryl

Get In Order for Christmas, Part 4

Part 4, Meal Planning

We tend to cook more and entertain more during the holidays. There is much that you can do prepare for this busy time so that you can truly enjoy your celebrations.

First, ask yourself who, what, when and where? When you have your answers to these questions, you have the backbone of your plans.

Take time to prepare for the weeks ahead by doing some (or all!) of the following:

  • Organize, purge and clean your pantry, refrigerator and freezer

  • Do a quick inventory of dinnerware, glasses, silverware, linens and serving pieces. If there is a need, there is certainly a sale!

  • Prepare a flexible menu for the weeks ahead

  • Each week, make a shopping list from your menus and try to shop only 1 time a week. Go on off peak times of day—early in the day and early in the week, if possible

  • Take advantage of sales to stock up on non perishables that you will need for your holiday preparations

  • Prepare dishes, breads, cookies and desserts that can be frozen

  • Keep basics and easy to prepare foods on hand

  • Share the responsibility and joy of cooking for others—when your guest asks if they can bring something, say YES, and cross something off your list!

  • Consider pot-luck dinners for large celebrations

Remember your goal this holiday season! Look back at your “Holiday Mission Statement” that you created back in week one. How is your mission going? Are you joyful in the journey of your preparations? If not, it might be time to cross a few more things off that list of yours, regroup and move forward.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Check out Part 1, Take Time to Make Time, Part 2, Budget and Gift Giving Guide and Part 3, Cleaning.

Cheryl

Get in Order for Christmas, Part 2

Part 2: Budget and Gift Giving Guide

Create a budget for your holiday. Be sure to include gifts, decorations, travel, meals and entertainment.

Next, create a gift list with each person’s name that you plan to purchase a gift for, along with gift ideas and the dollar amount that you plan to spend.

As you purchase gifts, fill in the gift purchased and the dollar amount spent.  This will help to organize your shopping, avoid purchasing doubles, and keep to your budget.

If you happen to like forms and planners, check out the website, Organized Christmas. They have a form or planner for any aspect of Christmas that you can image (and many that you can’t imagine!). Personally, I use a lined piece of notebook paper in my home notebook. It works. Use whatever is easiest for you and whatever you will actually use!

It is too tempting to overspend during the holidays—don’t allow your good intentions and good will to be an excuse for irresponsibility.

“About the time we think we can make end meet, someone moves the ends.” Herbert Hoover

Don’t be that someone!

Check back often for parts 3-9 of the “Get in Order for Christmas” Series, which will give you tips and ideas for cleaning, meal planning, decorating, shopping and gift giving, wrapping and reflecting back on your holiday season.

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Check out Part1, “Take Time to Make Time”.

Cheryl


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Organizing Just Got Fun!
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